Getting to the Grand Canyon
By Air

When heading to the Grand Canyon's South Rim, you can fly into one of three airports: Phoenix Sky Harbor, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, or Grand Canyon Airport. For best air fairs, fly into Phoenix and rent a car.

Is the North Rim your destination? Fly into Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, and drive from there.

By Car

Click for a larger version
Phoenix Arizona to Grand Canyon National Park South Rim.

Phoenix to Grand Canyon (233 Miles; 4 hrs 20 min)

Overview. I love the 4.5 hour drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. Once north of the urban sprawl that passes for metro Phoenix, the scenery is spectacular: majestic saguaro cacti, open desert, and, as you approach Flagstaff, the towering San Francisco peaks.

Grand Canyon National Park has two entrances: a Southern Entrance, just north of Tusayan, and an Eastern Entrance, a few miles East of Desert View. This makes it possible to explore a lot of scenery.

I recommend planning your travel so you arrive via one entrance and exit via the other. For a practical and nostalgic reasons, I prefer to enter via the Southern Entrance Station, and exit via the Eastern Entrance Station. The Southern Entrance station puts you closer to most of the hotels, restaurants, Babbett's largest General Store, and the Backcountry Reservations Office. If sightseeing is your primary objective, this puts you closer to the sights at the Western end of the park. Visit these first. Plan to explore the Eastern vistas on your way out of the park.

Click to learn more about the Hiking the Grand Canyon:  The Corridor Trails video.From Phoenix to Flagstaff. Follow the Signs for I-10/I-17 North. At the I-10/I-17 split, take I-17 North.

The Rock Springs Cafe, about an hour North of Phoenix, is a great place to stop, stretch your legs, and grab a great meal. The Cafe has lots of character and great pies!

Dinosaur at Valle, AZ. (c) Rob Kleine, All Rights Reserved.
Dino landmark at Valle, Az.

After about 145 miles you reach Flagstaff (and the end of I-17). Take the exit for Route 89.

From Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon's Southern Entrance Station. Follow Route 89 North through Flagstaff until you reach the Route 180 turnoff (about 2 miles). This will be a left hand turn, so be prepared. Follow Route 180 to Valle, AZ, home of Bedrock city, and this scary dinosaur. Turn Right (North) onto Rt 180/64. After about 75 miles, you will come to Tusayan, AZ. Tusayan features multiple hotels.

Grand Canyon National Park entrance is about 5 miles beyond Tusayan.

Try this route on your return trip from Grand Canyon to Phoenix (275 miles, 5 hrs 30 min):
Roadside Geology of Arizona.  Click to get it from today ...
Roadside Geology of Arizona is a great companion when driving to and from the Grand Canyon.

Exit Grand Canyon National Park via the Eastern Entrance Station (i.e., follow Rt 64 East from Grand Canyon Village). Make sure you stop at Desert View to absorb the expansive views. After passing through the Eastern Entrance Station, you will travel through beautiful rolling desert.

Turn Right (South) at the junction of Rt 64 and Rt 89. You are no on the fringes of the painted desert.

Wupatki National Monument is a spectacular place! Take the Northern end of the road that loops through the monument area. Stop at the pull out areas and explore the ruins. The Visitor Center, near the Southern end of the loop road through the monument, features interpretive exhibits.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument features camping and a unique nature trail that highlights the flora and fauna that flourish in this unique volcanic ash ecosystem.

Follow Rt 89 South through Flagstaff until you reach I-17. Follow I-17 South to Phoenix.

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon North Rim (270 miles; 5 hrs, 30 min)

Take I-15 East about 130 miles to Utah Rt 9. Follow Utah Rt 9 East about 10 miles, until you reach Utah Rt 59. Follow Rt 59 South/East to Fredonia (note: Utah 59 becomes Arizona Rt 389 when you cross the state line).

Follow Alt-89 about 30 miles from Fredonia to Jacob Lake. Grab Arizona RT 67 South from Jacob Lake. In about 25 miles you will come to the Kaibab Lodge. The Entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim, is a few miles further south. The North Rim complex is about 20 Miles South of the Kaibab Lodge.

Click for a larger map of the route from South Rim to North RimGrand Canyon South Rim to Grand Canyon North Rim (220 Miles; 5 hrs 30 min)

About 10 miles separate the South Rim's Grand Canyon Village from Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim. Ravens, and other canyon birds cover that distance with ease. To travel from one rim to another by car involves driving around the Eastern end of the Grand Canyon at Lees Ferry.

From Grand Canyon Village go east on AZ-64. This will take you past Desert View and out of Grand Canyon National Park's Eastern Entrance Station.

After about 57.0 miles (~1 hour and 25 minutes) you will reach the Junction of AZ-64&US-89.

Go north on US-89 for about 60 miles (~1 hour and 30 minutes) to Bitter Spring, AZ.

Go west on ALT-89 for for 55.0 miles (~1 hour and 25 minutes) to Jacob Lake, AZ.

Go south on AZ-67 for for 45.0 miles (~1 hour and 10 minutes) to North Rim, AZ. You're there!

By Train
Yes, it is possible to arrive at the Grand Canyon's South Rim by train! The Grand Canyon Railway provides train service between Williams, AZ, and Grand Canyon, AZ.

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